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Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 2:53 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Carlyle needs Maple Leafs' best players to step up

BOSTON -- The Toronto Maple Leafs were back on the ice at Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University on Friday in an attempt to formulate a better game plan for heading into Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Boston Bruins on Saturday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

While game-planning and strategy is all well and good, Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said he knows his best players need to earn their keep if his team has any shot at defeating the Bruins in the best-of-7 series.

That means Phil Kessel, Joffrey Lupul, Nazem Kadri, Dion Phaneuf and James Reimer need to step up their games, or the organization's first Stanley Cup Playoff appearance in nine years will be a short one.

"In the playoffs you're tested daily, maybe shift-to-shift or period-to-period, and that's what it is," Carlyle said. "It's going out there and earning their space and delivering in pressure situations. That's what it's supposed to be. It's not supposed to be an easy game. This game is tough … it's played with big men out there moving at a quick pace. You're playing for keeps now."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 4:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Carlyle praises people of Boston

BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said Thursday he has nothing but great respect for all Bostonians, especially after witnessing how the community came together following the Boston Marathon bombings last month.

It was another telling sign of how coaches and players react when there are certainly more pressing issues in life.

"We're in Boston, they have great hockey fans," Carlyle said. "Boston just went through a very traumatic situation. You can see the pride is in this town and the Bruins are a part of that."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 3:32 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Kostka suffered broken finger in series opener

BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle announced Thursday that defenseman Michael Kostka sustained a broken finger in the second period of Game 1 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and is out for Game 2 against the Boston Bruins on Saturday at TD Garden.

Additionally, defenseman Cody Franson (foot bruise) is day-to-day. Forward Phil Kessel, who was missing from Thursday's practice at Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University, was taking a maintenance day.

Though Kessel likely will be in the lineup Saturday, it remains to be seen what changes Carlyle will make on defense with Kostka out and Franson hurting. Carlyle said he will insert either Ryan O'Byrne or Jake Gardiner, or have both players in the lineup.

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Posted On Monday, 04.29.2013 / 1:51 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Lamoriello: Devils keeping 2013 first-round pick

New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters Monday the organization has decided to retain its first-round pick for the 2013 NHL Draft, which the Devils are hosting at Prudential Center on June 30.

In September 2010, the NHL fined the Devils $3 million and took away two high draft picks over the next four years for signing Ilya Kovalchuk to a 17-year, $102 million contract two months earlier that circumvented the League's salary cap.

The Devils forfeited a 2011 third-round pick and were told they needed to forfeit a first-rounder at some point over the next four years following the penalty.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 11:51 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hedberg starts, Gelinas makes NHL debut for Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Johan Hedberg will make his first start in over a month Thursday when his team plays host to the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins in the final game of the season at Prudential Center.

Hedberg, who is making his first start since a March 19 loss to the New York Rangers, is 5-9-3 with a 2.73 goals-against average and .886 save percentage in 17 games this season. In 10 career appearances against the Penguins, Hedberg is 3-5-1 with 2.84 GAA and .900 save percentage.

"It's been a while now since I last played, so it's nice to get one in and set up for next year," Hedberg told NHL.com. "We're playing for pride now. The fans have been great all year and coming to every game. That's really what we're playing for tonight … to show our appreciation for what they did for us."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.23.2013 / 11:57 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Devils playing for pride, jobs in final three games

NEWARK, N.J. -- The disappointment of being on the outside looking in on the Stanley Cup Playoff chase is beginning to hit home for the New Jersey Devils.

Now it's all about playing for pride and, perhaps, job security. The Devils have three games remaining in the regular season, including the first of two straight home games beginning Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens at Prudential Center.

The Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins visit Thursday before the Devils travel to Manhattan in their season finale on Saturday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

"It's hard to understand what happened, and not to be able to play for something in the regular season is hard, but it is what it is for us right now and we'll have to make the best of the last three games and stay focused and finish on a good note," Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 1:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Panthers, Devils

Here are the possible line combinations for Devils-Panthers on Saturday:

DEVILS

Dainius Zubrus - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk

Patrik Elias - Travis Zajac - David Clarkson

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - Matt D'Agostini

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Andy Green-Adam Larsson

Henrik Tallinder-Marek Zidlicky

Peter Harrold-Mark Fayne

Martin Brodeur

Johan Hedberg

Scratched: Andrei Loktionov, Krystofer Barch, Tom Kostopoulos, Steve Sullivan

Injured: Bryce Salvador (wrist)

Suspended: Anton Volchenkov

PANTHERS

Jonathan Huberdeau - Shawn Matthias - Greg Rallo

Tomas Fleischmann - Marcel Goc - Tomas Kopecky

Scottie Upshall - Nick Bjugstad - Jack Skille

Quinton Howden - Drew Shore - George Parros

Brian Campbell - Mike Weaver

Dmitry Kulikov - Erik Gudbranson

T.J. Brennan - Alex Petrovic

Jacob Markstrom

Scott Clemmensen

Scratched: Tyson Strachan

Injured: Jose Theodore (groin), Ed Jovanovski (hip), Eric Selleck (concussion), Kris Versteeg (knee), Stephen Weiss (wrist), Sean Bergenheim (groin)

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 12:37 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Hartman hoping to return sooner than expected

The pictures shared by numerous Twitter account holders of the ugly laceration on the right forearm of Plymouth Whalers forward Ryan Hartman led one to believe he would be sidelined the remainder of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.

Hartman, the No. 25-ranked skater on NHL Central Scouting's midterm release of the top draft-eligible North American prospects, has other intentions.

Hartman informed NHL.com on Wednesday that his doctor told him earlier in the day there was no sign of infection. That means with continued healing, he could return to the lineup as early as next week.

"It looks good … I got half the stitches out [Wednesday]," Hartman told NHL.com.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 12:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Invite numbers set for NHL Scouting Combine

Once NHL Central Scouting finalizes the rankings for the top draft-eligible North American prospects, the scouting staff will begin making preparations for the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto from May 27 through June 1.

Central Scouting is anticipating 86 North American players, including the top seven ranked goalies, and the top 15 European prospects, including the No. 1-ranked goalie, to join in all the excitement and sweat that is associated with the Combine.

The fitness testing portion of the Combine will be held May 31 and June 1 at Toronto International Centre and will be headed by Dr. Norman Gledhill and his staff at York University.

Central Scouting is expected to make public its final ranking of the top draft-eligible players during the last week in April.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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Posted On Friday, 04.12.2013 / 6:27 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Michalek returns for Senators against Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean confirmed Friday prior to pregame warmups that left wing Milan Michalek will return to the lineup to face the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

MacLean said Michalek will be reunited with top-line center Kyle Turris and right wing Daniel Alfredsson to open the game. The 28-year-old has missed the past 24 games with a knee injury. He has two goals and 10 points in 15 matches in 2012-13.

"We're hoping he can bring speed, leadership and his ability to score," MacLean said during his pregame media scrum. "He's been a very consistent player throughout his career, and he's the type of player you can put on the ice in any situation; power play, penalty-kill or 4-on-4. He's a very valuable part of our team, and we look forward to having him back in the lineup."

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Quote of the Day

It's about enjoying the moment. It's pretty cool to get that many people together and that excited about hockey to the point they really want you to mess up. They've got a ton of red jerseys and you have to sit back and appreciate people love hockey that much and you are the one out there who gets to play the game. Just try and stick with that respect for the game and also the mentality that for me it's just about entering the fight and seeing how long I can stay in it.

— Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller on what he expects from the fans in Calgary for Game 6